A breast lift, or mastopexy, is a surgical procedure used to raise, shape and firm the breasts which have drooped from any number of factors. Over the years, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and gravity can take a toll on a woman’s breasts. As a result of aging, skin loses elasticity and the breasts can lose their former shape and firmness as they begin to sag. Mastopexy can also be performed in conjunction with a breast augmentation if you would like to add volume to the breasts, which can increase their firmness and size in addition to the lift.
Scarring will depend on the type of lift you select, which will be determined by the amount of sagging that needs to be corrected.
Am I a candidate for a breast lift?
Before choosing to have a breast lift, you should learn what it can and cannot do. A breast lift has the potential to improve your appearance and self-esteem, but it won’t necessarily change how you look with your clothes on or cause people to treat you differently. You should carefully evaluate your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. Women who have the best results are usually those who have small, sagging breasts, because results may not last as long in women with larger, heavier breasts. Breasts of any size can benefit from mastopexy. If you are of childbearing age and wish to have (more) children, you should consider postponing a breast lift.
Although mastopexy does not interfere with future pregnancies or breastfeeding, future pregnancies are likely to stretch your breasts and offset the results of the procedure, because pregnancy and nursing can result in stretched skin and decreased volume. Another consideration is if you want to lose a great deal of weight, you should probably postpone your breast lift, as weight loss can make the breasts sag as they lose volume.
Types of Breast Lifts
The breast lift options available differ by the type of incision used and what each technique can accomplish. All types of breast lifts involve removing the excess skin to move the nipple and areola to a new, higher position. The surgical plan varies depending on your breasts and whether you opt to have an augmentation performed in the same surgery.
- Anchor lift: Usually reserved for only the droopiest breasts, this breast lift technique involves three incisions which can leave considerable scarring. The first is around the areola, another runs vertically from the bottom of the areola to the crease under the breast, and the third runs horizontally beneath the breast. The anchor lift is so named because the resulting scars are in the shape of an anchor.
- Lollipop lift: This technique involves an incision around the areola and then runs vertically down from the areola. Women who have a moderate degree of sagging are appropriate candidates for this lift.
- Donut lift: This technique also involves an incision around the perimeter of the areola, and is suitable for women with mild to moderate sagging.
- Crescent lift: This less common method involves an incision just along the upper half of the areola’s perimeter. The crescent lift is done in conjunction with a breast augmentation and is only suitable for women with a small degree of sagging.
- “Scarless” breast lift: This popular technique involves tiny incisions which are strategically placed to minimize scarring. The lifts are usually performed with a tool called an endoscope which is used to offer guidance to the surgeon.
Breast lift risks can include:
- Anesthesia complications
- Loss of sensation, either temporarily or permanently
- Scarring, which can be significant
- Wound separation
Depending on the nature of your surgery and whether or not it was performed as a standalone procedure, your recovery will vary. Your recovery will be more involved if your surgery was combined with an augmentation or reduction. Your surgeon will discuss the specific details of what you can expect in your recovery during your consultation visit.
During your recovery from mastopexy, you will have to keep the dressing or bandages applied to your incisions dry until they have closed. A few days after your procedure, you will have to see your surgeon to change your surgical dressings and remove your stitches. If you had drains used to prevent fluid buildup, your surgeon will remove them. During your first visit after your surgery, your surgeon will provide you with a support bra to wear as you heal.
You can expect that your breasts will be swollen and bruised after your surgery, which may persist for several months. Elastic bandages or support bras may reduce swelling and support the breasts during recovery.
As you recover, you will have to take sponge baths in lieu of showers until your incisions are closed and the stitches are removed. You won’t be able to wash your hair without assistance, because your surgeon will advise you not to raise your hands above your head. Similarly, you won’t be able to reach for high objects or lift anything heavy until your surgeon gives you clearance, as it could cause pain and rip your stitches.
Your new look
Your breasts will be higher and firmer after surgery, and your surgeon will make every effort to use as few incisions as necessary so scarring is minimal. However, you will be advised that scars resulting from a breast lift are permanent and can be very extensive. Some women will have lumpy, red scars for many months, which gradually fade. Fortunately, scars will be placed on the lower half of the breast, so even with low cut tops no one will be able to see any scars when you are wearing clothing.
Another consideration is that a breast lift doesn’t deliver permanent results, because eventually gravity, aging and weight fluctuations will result in less perky, youthful looking breasts. Women who are most satisfied with their breast lift go into the procedure with realistic expectations and discuss their concerns with their surgeon.
Pros and Cons
If you’ve been thinking about getting breast lift surgery, you probably have a lot of questions about what it can and cannot do for you. Some of the information you’ve been given may lead you to ask whether you should go through with it because of the pros and cons associated with the procedure.
Here are some of the pros and cons of breast lift surgery to consider before committing to going through with the surgery.
Breast lift surgery can be an excellent option for women who are dissatisfied with their sagging breasts. Women who undergo breast lift surgery can expect to have higher, firmer breasts after surgery. Common reasons to pursue breast lift surgery include:
- Pregnancy leading to lower breast volume, which causes breasts to sag.
- Aging. As women age, skin loses some of its former elasticity, breast tissue changes, and gravity takes its toll. These changes may be especially prevalent after menopause. Weight loss. Dramatic fluctuations in body weight may cause breasts to lose volume and become saggy. These changes may be especially prevalent after substantial weight loss from bariatric surgery.
- Breast lift surgery can be combined with a breast augmentation.
- Women who undergo a breast reduction can also benefit from a breast lift, with the aim of lifting the breasts while reducing their size.
All surgery has inherent risks, and you will learn all of the potential risks and complications associated with breast lift surgery during your consultations. You will be required to sign consent forms to ensure you fully understand what can potentially happen as a result of your breast lift surgery. Risks include but are not limited to the following:
- Loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts, either temporarily or permanently
- Scarring, which can be significant
- Wound separation
- The total cost for a breast lift in Los Angeles, including the fees for the plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, and facility fee, ranges between $6,800 and $16,000. Health insurance does not pay for the cost of a breast lift, because it is an elective procedure. Financing options are available for patients who wish to make monthly payments.
- Results from a breast lift may not be satisfactory for the first few weeks or months, because swelling, bruising and dark scars are common. This may persist for several months or longer.
- Results from a breast lift are not guaranteed to be permanent. Gradually, gravity, aging and weight fluctuations will result in less perky, youthful looking breasts.
- Although your surgeon will make every effort to ensure minimal scarring by using as few incisions as necessary, you must be aware that scars resulting from a breast lift are permanent and can be quite extensive. You may have lumpy, red scars for many months.
A breast lift can significantly enhance the appearance of breasts without having to undergo a full augmentation procedure. If you want fuller, perkier breasts, West Medical is here to help. We're dedicated to providing the results you want, and can ensure you will be happy with your procedure. To learn more about breast lift surgery and to set up a consultation, please call our West Medical Plastic Surgery Hotline at (855) 690-0565
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